Catch a movie, craft collectively, make use of that trusty snail mail, all while taking this much-needed and life-saving space.
We’re sure you’ve heard by now: staying home is the most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, thus slowing the illness and preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Time to get cozy on our couches, because it’s likely to save lives.
You’ve likely already adjusted to social distancing by communicating with loved ones via FaceTime or one of the many group chat platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Houseparty. But as the dust settles on our new (albeit temporary) digital normal and the Zoom fatigue starts to creep in, how do we keep in touch with our loved ones beyond your average video chat?
To keep you and yours from feeling lonesome and digitally burned out, we’ve assembled nine fun and engaging ways for bridging the distance.
1. Go to the Movies
Grab a bowl of popcorn and sit back to enjoy a flick at the same time as your pals. Decide on your movie and coordinate hitting play simultaneously, or use an app like Netflix Party to synchronize the playback. Some new releases are even coming to streaming services early. You can catch fresh films like Emma, The Hunt, and Birds of Prey without leaving your four walls.
2. A Toast
Since we can no longer hang out at happy hours or commiserate over a post-work pint, schedule a time to catch up with your loved one in a video chat drinking session. Pour a glass of wine or hot cup of tea and have a video conference one-on-one or with your whole gang. Treat it like an outing and get dressed for the occasion. Cheers!
3. Go Analog
Time to dust off those penmanship skills. Cards and handwritten letters are always a thoughtful way to show someone you care, but in times of isolation, a surprise in the mail can create a huge mood boost. Anything from a postcard with a quick “thinking of you” to a care package with puzzles, books they might enjoy, or self-care supplies will spread the love. As a bonus, set up a “thank you” tray with hand sanitizer (if you can spare it) and packaged snacks near your mailbox for your postal workers.
4. Game On
So board game nights are out, but luckily you can stay competitive without worrying about contagions. Online platforms like playingcards.io allow you to play live on a virtual tabletop. They have built-in games like Cards Against Humanity and Go Fish, or you can create a card game with your very own rules. You could also turn back the clock a few years when Words with Friends and Draw Something were all the rage (they’re still available, by the way). And there are loads of social video games available on your choice of gaming console.
5. Grab the Glue Sticks
Time for everyone to break out the craft box. Not only is that papier-mâché project fun, but it could also be good for your mental health (crafting can help you relax and take your mind off current stressors). To make it a group effort, try creating a shared vision board on Pinterest. You could also have everyone paint a similar subject, or draw portraits of each other and present on a group chat.
6. Love in the Time of Corona
Social distancing putting a damper on your dating life? We get it. It’s hard to find chemistry from far away. If you’re single, try asking friends to set you up on a blind FaceTime date (hey, it’s easier to hang up than to sneak out a back door). And who knew, but Bumble has been offering video and voice chat since last year.
7. What’s for Dinner?
It is still possible to have dinner together while apart, it’s just going to take some extra technology. Pick a recipe (search for “pantry recipes” to find ones with ingredients you likely have on hand) and set up a video chat to cook with your friend across town or even across the globe. Make the same thing so you can sit down to eat together and compare notes about your chef skills—try breakfast for dinner with your Tokyo-based friend. If only they could help you do the dishes…
8. Digital Dance Party
There is something about shaking it off as a community right now that feels especially therapeutic. Dance classes like Daybreaker and Dance Church are livestreaming sessions where you can sashay in your living room along with thousands of other dancers getting groovy at home. Other fitness studios are offering similar at-home classes, both live and pre-recorded (and many of them free!), so call your workout buddy for a shared flex.
9. Send Treats
Looking for a way to support local businesses and brighten someone’s day? Send cookies from a friend’s favorite neighborhood bakery or soup to someone with the sniffles via food delivery apps like Postmates, Uber Eats, or DoorDash. Many delivery services are including no-contact options, so you can keep your loved ones safe and satisfied while giving local businesses a boost.